Radeon VII vs. GeForce RTX 2080

Honestly, we're not sure why the overwhelming interest, but we've received a surprisingly large number of requests for a Radeon VII re-test in the past few weeks, and we couldn't refuse. It's been 3 months since the GPU was released and there have been no major breakthroughs in drivers. Therefore, for the most part, nothing should have changed. Still, some new games work very well with Radeon GPUs.

In what may be the last GPU shootout we put together before Navi arrives, we have a 38-game benchmark for 1440p and 4K resolutions today. But before we jump into the benchmarks, a short background story …

The AMD Radeon VII was released on February 7th and you can see what you get. That said, you can buy it from Sapphire, Asrock, XFX, MSI, Asus, Gigabyte, or PowerColor, but they're all the same Radeon VII card designed by AMD. So this is boring. To date, there are no custom AIB models that use a larger, oversized cooler to reduce operating volume and / or temperatures. The AMD reference design looks good, but is immediately ready to use without tinkering – like really loud.

The card's MSRP remains at $ 700. Alternatively, the GeForce RTX 2080 is available for the same price. When we put together our first 33-game Radeon VII mega benchmark, we found it was on average 7% slower than the GeForce RTX 2080, and of the 33 games tested, the Vega 20 GPU was only 5% or more faster 4 tracks.

In 23 of the games tested, the RTX 2080 was 5% or more faster. The RTX 2080 not only provides more consistent performance, but also uses less power. As a nice bonus, there are literally dozens of custom AIB options to choose from, almost all of which are very good.

Back to today we will test again and see where things are. As usual, we'll go over the results for a dozen of the newer titles, and then do some head-to-head comparisons with all the games tested in some performance charts.

For testing, we relied on a Core i9-9900K with 5 GHz and 32 GB DDR4-3400 memory. The green team represents the Gigabyte RTX 2080 Aorus Xtreme and for the red team the AMD Radeon VII. The latest available display drivers at the time of testing we were using and all results have been updated.

Benchmarks

First we have Rage 2 and here the Radeon VII and the GeForce RTX 2080 are evenly matched to each other. Traditionally, one would have expected AMD to gain the upper hand with an exclusive Vulkan title, but with the improvements Nvidia has made to the Turing architecture, this is no longer the case.

World War Z is another Vulkan title that also supports DirectX 11 in this case. Nvidia mentioned its Vulkan performance in this title and it shows that AMD is still winning. The Radeon VII was 18% faster at 1440p, although this margin is reduced to only 6% with the 4K resolution.

We recently saw that the Radeon RX 580 in Apex Legends had a slight performance advantage over the GTX 1060 6GB. However, this is not the case with the Radeon GPU in this comparison. Here the RTX 2080 smoked the Radeon VII with a margin of 24% at 1440p and almost 30% at 4K. The margins in this title can vary significantly depending on the test site. The section we use for repeatability is admittedly not very demanding.

Division 2 also uses a low-level API, this time DirectX 12, and this is a title where the RX 580 smoked the GTX 1060. However, we see again that the Radeon VII struggles to keep up with the RTX 2080, where the GeForce was 10% faster at both resolutions tested.

The performance in Shadow of the Tomb Raider is very competitive, although the RTX 2080 offers a small dent compared to the Radeon VII.

The Assassin's Creed Odyssey results are also pretty similar, although the RTX 2080 manages to displace the Radeon VII, this time with 7% more power at 1440p and 9% more at 4K.

Resident Evil 2 is another title where the RX 580 destroyed the GTX 1060, but here we see the Radeon VII playing the second violin of the RTX 2080. The Radeon GPU wasn't much slower, but it was actually slower in that comparison.

Fortnite was one of the few titles where the RX 580 was flashed by the GTX 1060, and that's not a good sign for the Radeon VII battling the RTX 2080. As you can see here, the GeForce GPU was 26% faster both resolutions tested. As expected, a bad result for AMD in this title.

Metro Exodus is a title sponsored by Nvidia, but the RX 580 still beat the GTX 1060 in this title. Here, however, the Radeon VII cannot keep up with the RTX 2080 and it is another comfortable victory for the green team.

Traditionally, AMD did well in Rainbow Six Siege, but the Radeon VII is smoked by the RTX 2080 because the GeForce GPU was 17% faster at 1440p and 21% faster at 4K. The extra power at 4K also makes a big difference.

One title where the Radeon VII outperforms the RTX 2080 is Battlefield V. Needless to say, DXR is not activated. Here the Radeon GPU was 11% faster in both resolutions tested.

The Radeon VII also manages to win in Far Cry New Dawn and beats the RTX 2080 by a narrow margin in both resolutions.

Service summary

That didn't seem to be particularly positive for the Radeon VII, but that was only a dozen of the 38 games tested. Let's take them all and get a clearer picture of what's going on.

Three months ago we found that the Radeon VII is 7% slower at 1440p and 8% slower today, although some new titles have been added. World War Z was a good addition to AMD, but beyond that, titles like Rage 2, Anthem, DiRT Rally 2, The Division 2, Apex Legends, Generation Zero and especially Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown were not as positive.

You may hear arguments trying to use the Radeon VII's massive 16GB VRAM buffer, suggesting that due to the extra memory, it's a superior choice for 4K gaming. The evidence strongly contradicts this argument.

At 4K, the Radeon VII fell slightly further behind the RTX 2080 and now there is only one example where it was 5% or more faster.

Clear winner

If we rewind a bit, after testing the Radeon VII shortly after launch, we found the following:

The Radeon VII is a good graphics card, but not competitive enough compared to the RTX 2080. We only rate it as a game product (in which this 16 GB image storage does not play a role) and frankly we do not ship it. If it was more efficient than the RTX 2080 and it ran quietly, we might consider it a worthy alternative, but let's not gloss over it or talk around the bush, it's not as efficient, it's loud, and for the most part, it's a little slower slower but slower. For these reasons, we cannot recommend the Radeon VII over the GeForce RTX 2080.

A few months later, not much has changed. We had several driver versions and availability is now reasonable. There is a small group of believers who argue that bending could bring unexpected improvements, but at this point you would need some miracle. Let us not forget that you can get another ~ 10% out of the RTX 2080 without significantly increasing power consumption and having almost no impact on the operating volume. This is great because most AIB models are practically noiseless at first.

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